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Pumpkin ale recipe

I just ordered my pumpkin ale and looking for a way to improve it from last year’s batch. Here’s what I did last year…

Bought way more pumpkin than I need. Cut it up, covered with some vanilla extract, baked until soft, steeped some & added some to the boil throughout. I think total I had about 9 lbs of pumpkin. We made pumpkin pies with the same pumpkins & they were sorta bland so maybe it was the pumpkins. The problem with last year’s batch was it didn’t have as much pumpkin flavor as I’d like. It still tasted great, just not pumpkinny for my liking.

I’ve heard/read a few things about pumpkin ale & beer brewing in general…

  1. best to use way more spices & pumpkin for pumpkin ales.
  2. canned pumpkin tastes more like pumpkin than pumpkin (Libby’s was recommended)…odd, but whatever
  3. adding flavor to beer is best after the boil

Here’s what I’m thinking…

Make the beer. Same day as brewing, mix bourbon (or rum) to canned pumpkin. Wait until fermentation ends & add the pumpkin mix.

Here’s my thoughts why…

  1. The alcohol will kill any bacteria or infections in the pumpkin mix. Plus, it’s booze.
  2. Waiting a week will allow for fermentation before adding the mix which has alcohol that could kill yeast.
  3. Adding it to the primary would be better than adding to the secondary since I wouldn’t have to rack twice.
  4. Using rum or bourbon gives it flavor.

So does anyone have any input on what I’m thinking here? I’m thinking to use bourbon sin rum in a pumpkin ale might be too sweet. I’d stick with a captain morgan black or Bacardi oakheart if so.

I make this every year and it is an all time favorite. We go through two kegs just on Halloween alone. The key is the pumpkin spices in the vodka. I tweaked the recipe when I brew it by not putting the canned pumpkin in the mash. That makes for a nasty stuck sparge. Instead, I cube up some pumpkins, broil them on low until they carmelize and then add them to the boil in a muslin bag for 30 minutes. I also use US-05 dry yeast instead of the British. Kevin Kutskill is a doctor in my brew club (CRAFT). The credit for the original recipe goes to him.

Pumpkin Beer Recipes
Below are some tried and true recipes:
Kevin Kutskill’s – It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie
Brown
Amount Name

  1. 5 lbs. Pale Malt( 2-row)
    3.00 lbs. Wheat Malt
    4.50 Lbs Libby’s Pumpkin (3 cans)
    0.50 Lbs Rice Hulls
    Hops
    Amount Alpha Name Boil Time

0.50 oz. 5.0% Hallertauer 60 min.
0.50 oz. 3.0% Czech Saaz 45 min.
0.50 oz. 3.0% Czech Saaz 15 min.
WYeast 1098 British Ale
Mash Schedule

Mash Type: Single Step, 150 F @ 90 min
Sparge Temp : 170 F
Spice Extract: add the following fresh spices to a
750 ml. bottle of vodka:
3 tsp. Cinnamon
1.5 tsp. Allspice
1.5 tsp. Nutmeg
1.5 tsp. Clove
1.5 tsp. Ginger
After a couple of weeks, the vodka has picked up
the spice flavors nicely. I decant off the “pumpkin
vodka” from the spices, and carefully add it to a 12
ounce serving of the pumpkin beer that has been in
the secondary. It usually takes 1-2 ml. to make the
beer taste the way I want (this year, 1.8 ml.). From
there, it is all math. Assume approx. fifty 12-ounce
beers in a 5 gallon batch (I make 5.5 gallons, but
lose approx. 1/2 gallon in racking/sampling, etc.).
1.8 x 50 = 90 ml. of the “pumpkin vodka” to add to
the finished beer, either while priming the beer, or
transferring to the keg. This results in a much more
consistent end product.

Late response from me, but thanks for the input! I was asking for an extract kit, but I still took your input with the vodka & spice mix. I think I got a tad carried away with the spices, but if you triple the amount from the recipe, you are probably ok. It mellowed out more with time, but I went through the batch faster than any other beer I’ve done & already have another batch in the primary. This time around instead of Libby’s pure pumpkin, I tried Libby’s pumpkin pie filling which has additional flavoring, sugars, & whatnot. I found the vodka spice mix interesting as it gelled together by the time I added it to the secondary. I could pick it up with a fork. Weird. I also followed the 6 row & steeped for an hour per the revised recipe. We’ll see how the next batch goes, but I’ve never had a pumpkin ale that I didn’t like. Thanks again for your thorough input!

CHEERS!

[quote=“mubrewer”]… I found the vodka spice mix interesting as it gelled together by the time I added it to the secondary. I could pick it up with a fork. Weird…[/quote]I noticed that too. It was real weird. I hope you did not add the gel stuff to the secondary. You were supposed to decant the vodka off the spices.

When I tried it the gel was not decant-able. in my case it was a 1/2pt bottle of rum. The whole bottle became one big copper-brown bottle of pumpkin snot.
It wouldn’t go through a coffee filter either.

When I tried it the gel was not decant-able. in my case it was a 1/2pt bottle of rum. The whole bottle became one big copper-brown bottle of pumpkin snot.
It wouldn’t go through a coffee filter either.[/quote]

Agreed. I tried to break it up with a fork. Also added some more vodka to dilute it & maybe break it down. No dice. I figured, whatever, it’s spices & vodka, what harm can it do? So I added to the secondary, then transferred my beer to it. Suppose to do it or not, it was delicious! I have another batch in the primary & half tempted to order another batch. Probably would have if S&H wasn’t so much $$$.

[quote=“mubrewer”]…half tempted to order another batch. Probably would have if S&H wasn’t so much $$$.[/quote]Well, NB just brought back $7.99 flat rate shipping so now you can.

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